Businesses using Azure Cosmos DB, formerly Microsoft's DocumentDB NoSQL service, to power their applications can now use the Azure Storage Explorer tool to manage the cloud storage resources that the globally-distributed database consumes.
"The extension allows you to manage Cosmos DB entities, manipulate data, create and update stored procedures, triggers, as well as User Defined Functions," explained Jenny Jiang, a Big Data principal program manager at a Microsoft, in a blog post.
"Azure Storage Explorer not only offers unified developer experiences for inserting, querying and managing your Azure Cosmos DB data, but also provides an editor with syntax highlighting and suggestions for authoring your Cosmos DB stored procedures."
Microsoft's cloud storage management tool also enables users to browse Cosmos DB using both the MongoDB and DocumentDB interfaces, providing a management experience similar to the existing ones for Azure Blobs, tables and the like Jiang said.
The integration also allows users to open a Cosmos DB account directly in the main Azure portal and add additional resources to the Quick Access list, a collection of shortcuts that help users jump to a desired Azure service without digging through navigation menus.
A full list of the new functionality along with Azure Storage Explorer download links for Windows, Linux and Mac is in the blog post on the Cosmos DB service.
Other updates to the Azure cloud ecosystem include the general availability of the Windows System State Backup to Azure feature in the Azure Backup agent software. Expanding on the software's ability to backup files and folders to Microsoft's cloud, the updated version provides the added assurance of being able to restore a system from Azure backups that contain OS and application configurations.
According to Microsoft, the agent now features full support for backups of production Windows File Server, Active Directory and IIS Web server workloads on Windows Server reaching back to Windows Server 2008 R2.
Using the Azure Backup agent interface, users can select the time of their daily System State backups and set their retention ranges. System State also supports PowerShell, enabling for automated configuration, backup and recovery of Windows Server.
Meanwhile, Azure Virtual Machine Scale Sets is getting a new automatic operating system (OS) image upgrade capability, that allows users "to adopt a set-it-and-forget-it approach to OS lifecycle maintenance," according to Guy Bowerman, principal program manager of Azure Compute at Microsoft.
Azure Virtual Machine Scale Sets is a deployment and management service that scales automatically and eliminates pre-provisioning tasks for customers spinning up large sets of identical virtual machines.
Currently in beta, the automatic OS image upgrade feature can be used to upgrade to the latest operating system image as soon as it becomes available from the software's publisher. To help mitigate any problems that may arise and reduce application downtime, the feature rolls out updates in batches affecting 20 percent or less of the virtual machines in a Scale Set at a time.
It also integrates with the application health probe in Azure Load Balancer, helping customers validate their upgrades. For now, the feature supports Windows Server 2016 Datacenter, Windows Server 2012 Datacenter R2 and Windows Server 2012 Datacenter R2, with more to come, added Bowerman.